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(Australian Associated Press)
Internet-connected devices including smart TVs, watches and speakers will soon be subject to an industry code to protect against cyber attacks.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is concerned about poor security features in many such devices and wants companies to make sure their systems are resilient to outages and software updates are secure.
At an industry summit in Melbourne on Tuesday, Mr Dutton said there will be more than 64 billion internet-connected devices globally by 2025, outnumbering humans eight to one.
“While this connectivity brings convenience to people in their personal and professional lives, many devices lack basic in-built security features,” he said.
Mr Dutton announced a draft code of practice for public consultation, which will run until March next year.
Consisting of 13 principles, the voluntary code of practice brings Australia into line with other countries such as Britain, which has also developed an industry code to help protect consumers from cyber-attacks and data breaches.
In his speech, Mr Dutton said more needed to be done to ensure the online realm was “safer and more trustworthy, without censoring the free exchange of ideas so intrinsic to our way of life”.
“It is a landscape shaped by tensions between the benefits and threats of connectivity, between data privacy and access and between the fair use and abuse of technologies,” he said.
Threats include attacks lone hackers, organised crime groups and foreign governments.
“The threat from foreign interference is at an unacceptably high level,” Mr Dutton told the industry summit.
“We won’t tolerate cyber attacks in your sectors, the theft of your intellectual property or interference which impedes your ability to do business on an even playing field.
“So please rest assured much work is going on behind the scenes to address this threat.”
He also said defeating the scourge of child sexual abuse material online remains a key priority.
The Australian Federal Police received almost 18,000 reports about online child exploitation material in 2018, an 84 per cent increase on the previous year.